Hempstead Village Education

Sacred Heart students’ research published


Two Hempstead girls, Bella Guerra and Kaylin Spinelli, have once again excelled in local and international behavioral science venues. 

They were two of 13 Sacred Heart Academy seniors whose poster proposals were accepted for presentation at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Convention, which will be held in Chicago May 26-28. The convention is one of psychology’s most prestigious international annual gatherings.

The two are best friends with Cayla Midy, of Levittown, whose poster proposal was also picked. 

The three students are seniors, as are all the Sacred Heart 2022 participants chosen for the APS event. They will present their original research in poster format alongside undergraduates and graduate students during the convention. 

The judges who selected their proposals for presentation read all submissions blindly, which means they did not know they were reading the work of high school students during the selection process. 

Guerra also won a prize at the recent Long Island Youth Summit. She received a “Best in Category” plaque for her research project in the category of Teen Mental Health. 

Guerra has further distinguished herself by having a study she conducted accepted for publication in the Maryland-based Whitman Journal of Psychology. The title of her paper is “Assessing gender-based microagressions present in ‘friend-text’ at a single-sex school.”

Guerra examined the ability of school culture to mediate the degree and type of internalized sexist comments present in teenage girls' friend-texts. In her study, she found that a school which intentionally nurtures girls’ intellectual and personal development will improve their views of themselves as females. A brief summary of her research states:

"Internalized Sexism refers to women’s incorporation of sexism, relying on regular practice through gender microaggressions which are regularly practiced through conversation between women. 60 participants held a 12-minute ‘catch-up’ conversation, coded for Bearman’s (2009) practices of gender microaggressions. Underclassmen exhibited significantly higher scores of conversational internalized misogyny than upperclassmen, suggesting that school culture mediated such practices."  

The Whitman Journal of Psychology is the leading peer-reviewed journal for secondary behavioral science research. The editors receive over 450 submissions each year. Guerra's work is one of approximately 12 that will see print in 2022.

Guerra's publication is Sacred Heart Academy's ninth such accomplishment since fall 2020.